Tag Archives: India

Delta variant shows Tory Covid crisis will end as it began – in incompetence and corruption

Still going strong: the delta variant of Covid-19 is now dominant in the UK after more than a year of Tory refusal to close the nation’s borders – and is almost three times as likely to put you in a hospital as the original strain of the virus.

When you learn that the dominant form of Covid-19 in the UK now is the ‘delta’ variant that was discovered in India only recently, what does that tell you?

It tells This Writer that Boris Johnson’s insistence on keeping the UK’s borders open was an act of homicidal stupidity.

And it shows that the silly ‘traffic light’ system to indicate which countries are safe to visit does not work at all.

That’s because this new variant of Covid-19 has not only beaten all the supposed safeguards that Johnson’s government has imposed; it is now infecting more people than any other strain of the disease.

And it is more likely to cause serious illness than any other variant, too:

The facts show that 75 per cent of new cases are of the delta variant – and that it is being transmitted most commonly through schools.

This should end the debate over whether it was a bad idea to reopen schools while the pandemic was at its height; of course it was.

And it still is. Parents are now 1.6 times more likely to end up hospitalised if their children bring the delta variant home with them than they were with the original version of the virus last year.

It also shows that press releases from Public Health England should not be treated as factual. Consider:

Possibly the worst part of all this is that many Tory MPs seem determined to finish the “unlock” (as Grant Shapps referred to it in the Guardian article) on June 21, no matter how many people suffer as a result:

You see, your health doesn’t matter to these people. It never did.

Money matters to them.

You are stock. You are a commodity that they use in order to make money for them. The granting of billions of pounds of public money to Tory donors via PPE contracts that went unfulfilled – causing tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths – is an example of that thinking.

And if some of the stock dies out due to disease, it will replenish itself in a few years’ time, so they’re not bothered about that at all, either.

Don’t you wish you lived in New Zealand?

That country had a sensible, socialist prime minister who locked down properly, as soon as she heard a whisper about how bad Covid-19 might be – including closing all that country’s borders.

It was then able to carry on as normal, with the minimal number of cases that did present themselves receiving proper treatment, correctly isolated from the rest of the population. I believe there was a functioning test and trace system there, too.

So New Zealand has been able to function more or less as normal while other countries scrabbled to develop a vaccine – and now the vaccine is available, it is running an efficient injection programme.

The people of New Zealand chose their leaders wisely.

The UK’s diehard Tories (coupled with Labour traitors who hated Jeremy Corbyn) forced Boris Johnson on us.

They gave us the incompetence and corruption of Matt Hancock, Dominic Cummings, Gavin Williamson, Rishi Sunak and all the other ministers who have ignored their duty to the public in order to line their pockets and those of their friends.

They’re giving us the delta variant.

They’re giving us the potential of a premature end to all lockdown restrictions that would trigger yet another wave of Covid-19 infections in the summer or the autumn.

Ultimately, they have given many of us death.

 

Source: UK tightens borders and travel rules as variants spark new alarm | Coronavirus | The Guardian

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India’s plastic roads might be paving the way for a better UK environment

Take a look at this:

That’s right – India has been using its waste plastic to build roads that show no signs of wear and tear after years of use and are cheaper to build than those made of conventional materials.

Why aren’t we doing this in the UK?

In fact, there may be perfectly good reasons not to. I remember when the Wills cigarette factory was built in Hartcliffe, Bristol, it was an ugly block of metal squares – so the firm covered it in a special chemical that was supposed to turn a pleasant green on contact with the atmosphere.

The problem was that the atmosphere on which it had been tested was much drier than the humid south Bristol swamp. The building turned a rusty purple instead, and remained that way until it was knocked down to make way for (guess what?) a shopping centre.

It is entirely possible that an attempt to build plastic roads in the UK may suffer from similar local difficulties. But I have no evidence that any experimentation has been carried out. Wouldn’t it be a good idea at least to try?

Alternatively, this is a potential export market that we may all welcome. If we can’t build durable plastic roads ourselves (or even if we can; I’m sure there’s enough raw material to go around) we can always export our waste plastics to countries that can.

It would solve several problems at once – or so it seems to me.

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No relaxation of immigration rules for India, Theresa May says

Theresa May with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a visit to India for bilateral talks and trade events [Image: Harish Tyagi/EPA].

Theresa May with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a visit to India for bilateral talks and trade events [Image: Harish Tyagi/EPA].

For clarity: There is no evidence to show that immigrants – from anywhere – are taking too many of the UK’s public services, as some have argued. The services are being squeezed by Theresa May’s Conservative Government.

That being said, there probably isn’t any need for new rules on immigration from India. Some arguments for the UK to leave the EU have claimed that people from outside the Union have been barred from entry because the EU demands preferential treatment for its members; clearly the evidence shows that this is not true.

There are wider possibilities with India, though. It is part of the BRICS trading group with Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa and a productive meeting this week could open up better relations with all of those countries – which would be particularly useful in soothing tensions with Russia.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, was in India only a couple of weeks ago, and it seems likely that the result of that visit will be prominent in Mr Modi’s mind now.

Theresa May has dashed Indian hopes for a more liberal visa system for its nationals wanting to work in the UK by arguing that the current offer is generous enough.

Speaking on the way to her first bilateral meeting in Delhi, the prime minister argued that Britain was already able to attract the “brightest and best” from outside the EU. “The figures show that we issue more work visas to India than I think US, Australia and China put together. Nine out of 10 visa applications from India are already accepted. We have, I believe, a good system,” she said.

The comments will prove disappointing for some in the Indian government and business community who have argued for more of their highly skilled professional workers to be able to get six-month visas for the UK and other European countries.

Source: Theresa May says UK will not raise visa quota for Indian nationals | World news | The Guardian

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Life and death issues – Labour’s living wage v another Tory weapons junket

We’re all about the money: David Cameron is in the Middle East, hawking our jet fighters to foreign powers.

It’s a matter of priorities.

On the left hand, we have the Labour Party, campaigning strongly for the so-called “living wage” – an earnings level for British workers that will provide enough for them to look after their families, heat their homes, feed their kids, care for their elderly relatives and plan for the future (as Ed Miliband was set to say at a speech today).

On the right hand, we have Conservative leader (and comedy Prime Minister) David Cameron, off on a junket to the Middle East in a bid to sell Typhoon fighter jets to Arab nations.

… Because that always works well for us, doesn’t it? (/sarcasm)

Conservatives have been selling weapons to foreign countries for decades. We know that 16 British firms were listed as having supplied arms to Iraq (the information is in a 12,000-page dossier the Iraqis kindly supplied to the UN in 2003). It has been alleged that one of the arms dealers involved in those sales was Mark Thatcher, son of the former Conservative Prime Minister. It’s a certainty that these companies were making their sales while the Conservatives were in power during the 1980s and 1990s, and probably benefited from Conservative government trade missions.

Perceptive readers will, at this point, assert that Labour governments have also sold to foreign powers, and this is true. I have been able to find evidence of sales to India and to Israel during Tony Blair’s controversial premiership.

It’s a very murky subject and nobody in British politics can say their hands are clean.

The best I can suggest is that Labour didn’t sell arms to anyone who was likely to use them on British citizens. The Conservatives were indiscriminate (and we know – or at least have good reason to believe – that arms sold to Iraq were indeed used against British soldiers).

Cameron himself has already earned adverse media coverage for selling arms to countries with questionable human rights records – in other words, those that might use those weapons on their own citizens. He has tried to talk these claims down –

– but it is telling that he has made damn sure there will be minimal media coverage of this trip. Downing Street has spent two years trying to restrict media access to the PM’s overseas visits, making him the only G7 leader who is not accompanied abroad by a full press corps. The preferred total is just one broadcaster (presumably, one who has been specially selected by Downing Street and who is, therefore “one of us”).

The deals Cameron hopes to make are said to be worth more than £6 billion to the UK. However, considering this government’s miserable record in tackling tax evasion and avoidance, one wonders how much of that will make it into the Treasury.

Contrast this secrecy with the full-on publicity campaign for the living wage, under way courtesy of Ed Miliband and the Labour Party, here in Blighty. The living wage is £7.45 per hour (outside London; £8.30 within the capital) – only a little more than £1 above the minimum wage, but it could make a big difference to workers across the country.

For every £1 spent in the private sector on getting workers up to the living wage, around 50 pence of that would come back to the government in savings on tax credits and benefits, and in higher tax revenue. In other words, it would help pay off the national deficit and debt.

“The living wage isn’t an idea that came from politicians,” says Mr Miliband in his speech today. “Or from academics in thinktanks.

“It came from working people themselves. People who recognised that they were giving their all for organisations that could afford to pay just a little bit more to give dignity to them, but who weren’t doing so. People who recognised that their firms might be more likely to succeed if they did.

“Our economy is not working for working people but just for a few at the top – a few taking ever-more of a share of the national cake, while other people struggle more and more to make ends meet.

Mr Cameron’s arms junket is living proof of the truth of those words.

Postscript: In his speech, Mr Miliband lists Labour councils that have introduced the living wage. I’m happy to add that Powys County Council, although independently-run, has pledged to research the possibility of introducing the living wage at the earliest opportunity.